Steam has long been the primary arbiter of PC gaming. With global reach and a user base in the millions, any big changes that Valve makes to its digital service is a huge deal. The latest major change drops Steam Greenlight in favor of a new system, called Steam Direct.
“Steam Direct is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight,” states the announcement. “We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”
Valve admits they’re still discussing that recoupable fee. They’ve talked to “several developers and studios” and been given a range “as low as $100 to as high as $5,000.” That’s a fairly large range and has a lot of current indie devs anxiously wringing their hands.
Depending on the fee Steam Direct will have a much lower barrier of entry than Stream Greenlight. Steam Greenlight required indie developers to submit each new game for Steam users to vote on. Greenlight gradually picked up the pace of new game submissions and helped usher in thousands of new games into Steam since its inception in 2012.
Steam Greenlight has since grown bulky and unwieldy, but Valve wants to continue automating curation for the vast amounts of games being submitted to Steam. Steam Direct will technically be easier, with the fee designed to weed out the less-than-serious proposals.
Valve hasn’t been above retracting moves or changing systems based on public feedback. It’ll be interesting to see if Steam Direct is embraced of decried. Like most things it will come down to the cost.